People don’t think through knee-jerk demands to go “green.” Plastic grocery bags are recyclable — ask at your grocery store. Also, plastic bags are one of the most reusable products around. We use them to pick up after our dog and clean out the cat box. (Woe to the persons who do not pick up after their dog with some sort of plastic bag!)

They replace heavier plastic waste basket liners in the bathrooms and the RV. They are handy for dirty clothes when traveling. They serve as moisture-resistant lunch bags when out on the trails (always carefully packed home). They handle wet swimsuits. If a soda leaks or a jar cracks, the plastic bag is much better than cloth at containing the leak. They take less space to pack and store. They are provided as a customer service.

Cloth bags cost more energy to manufacture and to keep clean. If they are not washed regularly (using water and power and detergent), they most quickly become contaminated with bacteria that cause food poisoning. They are not big enough if you buy fresh food and produce. They are bulkier to keep stored. They usually must be purchased for a dollar or so. They are not nearly as versatile as the plastic bags.

If it makes one feel virtuous to use a cloth bag, by all means do so. But don’t take it upon yourself to deprive your fellows of a low-cost, convenient, useful, recyclable and re- usable alternative product.

Karla Burton